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  FIFA U –20 World Cup Canada 2007 Summary

By Dixon Modeste

It took three weeks and 52 matches for Argentina the South American giants to emerge the FIFA U-20 champions. The South American continent rose above all others to have a representative claim the championship and another win the third place match.

The FIFA U-20 soccer tournament consisted of 24 teams from all 5 continents. Each continent went through its’ qualifiers, to produce the teams that represented them. Here is a breakdown of the teams and how the continents did in this tournament.  

Europe led all continents with six entries. The six were Spain, Austria, Poland, Scotland, Czech Republic and Portugal. Spain seemed to be the flagship for the Europeans early on. Their play in the round robin was stellar with 2 wins and a draw and then they defeated Brazil in the round of 16 and it appeared that they were well on their way to challenging for the championship. The Czechs’ got the better of them in the quarter-finals and Spanish hopes were dashed once again. The Czech Republic’s steady play proved to be the class of Europe because they made it all the way to the finals.  The Europeans continued to show the world that they are a force to be reckoned with because Austria represented them for the third place game as well.

 

   The Asian continent consisted of Jordan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic and Japan. Japan was the only survivor from this group to move on to the round of 16. The Czech Republic knocked out Japan in the round of 16 but there are promising signs from this continent.  It might sound strange but Asia gave a good account of themselves especially the Korean Republic. The Republic played some of the best football of the tournament and was very unlucky not to move on.  This continent is perhaps the fastest rising in their technical, physical and mental aspect to the beautiful game and to continue to under-estimate them will be a huge mistake.

 

 

The Oceanic region had only one entry in the tournament. This lone entry was New Zealand. This team wasn’t able to qualify for the round of 16 but gained valuable experience for the future and will be better prepared next time around.

 Northern and Central America were represented by Mexico, USA, Costa Rica, Panama and Canada.  Mexico and USA continued to be the cream of the crop for this region. Their play while inconsistent at times still produced some encouraging signs for the future.  Mexico led by Giovanni Dos Santos narrowly lost out  to Argentina in the quarter-finals and  the USA led by Freddy Adu were able to raise their game to defeat Brazil in the round robin stage. These two results combined with the fact that they both made it to the quarter-finals proved that football in this sector is steadily improving. You can rest assure that these two teams will continue to represent the region well and will eventually be joined by others.

 Congo, Gambia, Zambia and Nigeria were the representatives for the African continent.  They all made it to the round of 16 which is an indication of the strength of this continent.  The level of soccer in Africa keeps growing each and every time they appear on the world scene.  The teams from this region continue to tease us every tournament they participate in. They always seem to be on the verge of a major breakthrough but continuously fall short.  The teams possess almost all of the ingredients to be champions but are missing a pinch of something to actually complete the job. It is only a matter of time before a representative from the African continent hold a major tournament trophy above their heads. Their level of football is too good to be denied forever.

 

The South American teams comprising of Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay produced some breathtaking football.  The surprising team from this conference was Brazil because they never found their feet. Brazil surprisingly made it to the round of 16 and was eliminated by Spain at that stage, which was their third defeat in four games, and that is very rear for any Brazilian team. The rest of the South Americans however had good balance offensively and defensively.  The standard of football that Argentina and Chile produced, in the games leading to their encounter in the semi-finals, were of the highest value. Argentina got the better of Chile and went on to defeat the Czech Republic in the finals. Chile however went on to defeat Austria and claim the third place prize.

Congratulations to Argentina the pre tournament favourites for defeating their European counterparts the Czech Republic by a 2-1 margin to retain their world championship. In doing so it gave Argentina their sixth world FIFA U-20 championship and it made their captain Sergio Aguero only the second player after Joao Pinto to win two FIFA U-20 championships.

 Congratulations to all the teams that participated in this tournament and helped towards making it the huge success it was. Over 1.5 million tickets were sold and the spectators were treated to football of the highest standards at times. The talents of some of these youngsters will soon be displayed on their respective senior national teams and the future looks very bright indeed. We were all privileged to witness the next generations of stars and I hope that the level of the game keeps improving in leaps and bounds in each and every continent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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